Public vs Private Accounting: Which is the Better Career Path For You?

what is public accounting experience

As an aspiring CPA, you might want to consider an online accounting degree program, which offers convenience and flexibility, especially when working full time while going to school. You might like to consider the Online Master’s of Accounting (iMSA), offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. You can also pursue management consulting, information technology, education, and financial planning careers. While these may not seem like typical professions for accountants, many industries rely on financial expertise. CPA is a license awarded by the state you want to work in, which allows you to practice as an advanced accountant.

what is public accounting experience

In fact, many public accountants often work beyond the “normal” 40-hour workweek. And while accounting careers have their high points, the daily work isn’t always rewarding or enjoyable. Renamed several times over the years, the organization has been known as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) since 1957.


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When you start to feel like you know nothing, remember that everyone has been in your shoes. After all, your employer would not have hired you if you didn’t have the skills you need to succeed. Think of each day as an opportunity to learn something new and build your skillset, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. The CPA designation became more important after the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002, which was passed partly in response to corporate financial scandals like the Enron affair.

If you feel uncomfortable with networking, take the pressure off yourself. Networking can be as easy as taking your favorite client out to lunch or grabbing a quick cup of coffee. What’s important is that your clients start to gain a full picture of both your hard and soft business skills in addition to your accounting experience. However, some firms are actively trying to improve their company’s culture to retain more employees. For example, some allow increased flexibility in work schedules and the option of working from home on certain days. Even more, firms of all sizes are steering away from the model of billable hours and toward fixed pricing.

FAQs: Public vs Private Accounting

Many young public accountants begin their careers without a clear understanding of what lies ahead. After all, it’s demanding, deadline-driven, and just downright tough at times. But for many, public accounting is rewarding and leads to many personal and professional benefits. And ultimately, it can help you lay the foundation for a great accounting career. Even if you have a college degree in accounting, college only imparts foundational skills. Basically, your accounting degree is just the beginning of your education.

  • Also, more students are gravitating towards tech-related majors, which doesn’t just affect accounting.
  • Public accounting refers to a business that provides accounting services to other firms.
  • Even at lower levels in public accounting, you may not need to originate business, but you will be involved in proposals and pitches.
  • The Uniform CPA Exam can only be taken by accountants who already have professional experience in the field and a bachelor’s degree.
  • This role aims to assist businesses with accurate financial tracking, planning, and reporting to inform strategic decision-making within the company and ensure its fiscal health and performance.
  • They serve as external auditors, tax advisors, and financial consultants to a wide array of clients, gaining a wealth of experience and expertise.

The Board has contracted with NASBA CPA Exam Services (CPAES) to ensure the total education received is in compliance with Tennessee’s Law and Rules and is consistent with all other candidates. Applicants who obtained their education outside the United States must have that education evaluated by one of the following foreign credential evaluation services approved by the Board. Do not submit your application for the Exam until after your foreign education public accounting evaluation has been completed. I can assure you that Prager Metis is shouting it from the rooftops, whether in a traditional office building or our virtual workspace in the Metaverse. Sign up for weekly professional and technical updates from PICPA’s blogs, podcasts, and discussion board topics by completing this form. This may sound obvious, but be nice to everyone – your co-workers, clients and every person you encounter in a work situation.